Voting leave in Kansas and Missouri

Kansas and Missouri both have laws that provide for voting leave: if you are a registered voter in your state and cannot make it to the polls outside of your working hours, your employer must give you paid time off on Election Day so that you can go out and vote.

The Missouri law is a little different from its Kansas equivalent

Here's what you should know:

Missouri voting leave

In Missouri, an employee can take up to three hours off to vote as long as they ask before Election Day and polls aren’t open for three consecutive hours outside of the time they work. So, if the polls are open from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and you work 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., you can take time off to vote. If you work 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., you’re not eligible for voting leave because the law states there’s adequate time outside of your working hours to get it done.

Preventing an employee from taking voting leave is a misdemeanor, and courts can punish it with up to one year of jail time or $2,500 in fines; however, an employer does have the right to determine the three-hour span of time in which the employee can take their leave.

Kansas voting leave

In Kansas, the law doesn’t specify whether you need to put in a request for voting leave ahead of time, but it’s still the polite thing to do. Registered voters in Kansas can take up to two hours of paid voting leave on Election Day if there aren’t two consecutive hours of polling outside of their shift.

Here’s where the Kansas statute gets a little complicated. If the polls are open outside of your shift, you can only take voting leave for an amount of time that, when added to the time the polls are open, does not exceed two hours. So, if the polls are open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and you work 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., you can only take one hour off during your work day.

Just like in Missouri, your employer has the right to decide what time you can take your leave, but refusing to allow an employee any time off to vote is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable with fines and jail time.

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